Human Rights

Are ‘Good-Faith Assurances’ with the Chinese Enough?

May 5, 2012 by

By all accounts, Chen Guangcheng was prepared to resettle in the United States following years of run-ins with Chinese authorities. Chen Guangcheng’s reversal from seeking asylum, to an expressed desire to remain in China and ultimately to plea for help from the U.S. State Department, including a choreographed phone call to a congressional hearing, have created a diplomatic headache for the Obama administration.

Kremlin Human Rights Watchdog’s New Master

May 5, 2012 by

In two days, Vladimir Putin will be inaugurated for this third term as the President of the Russian Federation. And with his reentry into the nation’s chief position, the issue of human rights and the development of civil society, a touted reform in the past four years under current President Medvedev, face an uncertain future. Earlier this week President Medvedev’s held his final meeting with the Kremlin’s Council on the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights.

The Talented Mr. Chen

May 5, 2012 by

Chen Guangcheng’s saga says a lot about the evolution in Chinese political culture currently under way as well as about the maturing relationship between China and the U.S. Not long ago, this ‘crisis’ could have severely impacted bilateral relations between the two countries; today, it appears to be a minor irritant, based on a spirit of compromise and common sense that has apparently prevailed.

Peru’s Shining Path: Still Operational

May 4, 2012 by

In mid-February, Peruvian security forces scored a major victory against the notorious Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso) terrorist group with the capture of the movement’s last major leader known as Artemio (real name Florindo Eleuterio Flores). Shining Path has waged war on the Peruvian government since the 1980s, a persistent thorn in Peru’s side.

Burma’s Reform: an Opportunity or a Threat?

April 27, 2012 by

Luminaries smelled blood. Hillary Clinton, Kevin Rudd, and David Cameron came and went, openly advocating for continued democratic reform. All met with Ms. Aung Sun Suu Kyi. In the aftermath of grandiose state visits from such luminaries to Burma (officially known as Myanmar), Aung Sun Suu Kyi and military leaders face a long and difficult task to bring about political, social, and economic reforms in a country that has remained under a brutal military junta and isolated from most of the world since 1960.

What Syria is Teaching the West

April 22, 2012 by

It should come as little surprise to anyone that the fragile cease-fire in Syria has failed and is evidence that - contrary to what many pundits contend - the tide continues to be on Mr. Assad’s side, given the time that has passed, the fractured nature of the opposition, and the bungled manner in which the West has addressed the subject. As Syria demonstrates, with each passing month the Arab Awakening evolves in new and unexpected ways.

What Marwan Barghouti Really Means to Palestinians

April 4, 2012 by

Last week, Marwan Barghouti, the prominent Palestinian political prisoner and Fatah leader, called on Palestinians to launch a “large-scale popular resistance” which would “serve the cause of our people.” The message was widely disseminated as it coincided with Land Day, an event that has unified Palestinians since March 1976.

Do Elections in Myanmar Signal Real Change?

April 4, 2012 by

Is Myanmar’s leadership serious about reforms? Or were the elections mounted for appearances only? Here’s what Robert Lieberman, Tharaphi Than and Ian Holliday, among others, have to say.

Burma After Aung San Suu Kyi’s Election Victory

April 3, 2012 by

The by-elections held throughout Burma/Myanmar on 1 April initially look to have produced a stunning result for the National League for Democracy (NLD) and its leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. It was stunning for everyone, including for the party itself and the military which has ruled the country for just over 50 years.

Aung San Suu Kyi as Lawmaker

April 2, 2012 by

Following her historic victory in Sunday’s by-elections Aung San Suu Kyi takes on a new role as opposition lawmaker, after a 22-year existence as Myanmar’s most famous political prisoner. The 66-year-old’s presence in parliament will be fortified by other candidates from her National League for Democracy (NLD) triumphant in the landmark mini-poll on Apr.1. An informal tally by NLD has shown the party winning 40 of the 45 seats up for grabs in the 664-member bicameral legislature.

Annan’s Plan for Syria has Limited Horizons for a Country Snared in Distrust

April 1, 2012 by

The conflict in Syria has often assumed the ominous characteristic of being insoluble or endless. The government and its various opponents have shown little interest in compromise. The Assad regime’s increasingly ferocious efforts have so far failed to suppress the activities of the resistance movements, who, in turn, have been unable to strike a serious blow against the regime. As soon as one part of the country has been subdued by ruthless force, protests have broken out in another.

Post-Geneva Delusions: The Next Steps in Sri Lanka

March 31, 2012 by

Sri Lanka’s Minister of External Affairs, G.L. Peiris, has recently given one additional reason for the passage of a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva: “collective commitments.” Evidently, Mr. Peiris had been informed by one of his European counterparts that certain members of the European Union (EU) were unsupportive of the resolution, but were compelled to vote in favor of it, since a group decision had been taken by the EU.

Is this Progress? Watering Down the Millennium Development Goals

March 30, 2012 by

Did you hear about the latest success for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)? Don’t be ashamed to say no – most of the world missed it with you. So what happened? You’ll remember that the MDGs are the promises made by world leaders to dramatically improve the plight of the poor by 2015. To track progress, they signed up to eight goals (the MDGs), with 18 targets and 48 measurable indicators.

Assessing China’s Role and Influence in Africa

March 29, 2012 by

The most important difference between the United States and China is the very structure of the American and Chinese governments and the way their respective systems engage in Africa. American commercial activity (trade, investment and bidding on contracts) in Africa is conducted by private companies with limited involvement by the U.S. government. If two or more private U.S. companies are competing for the same project, the U.S. government must be impartial, providing essentially equal help to all U.S. interested parties. When this situation occurs, my experience was that the role of the U.S. government diminishes even further.

The Effects of the US Resolution Against Sri Lanka

March 23, 2012 by

Europe and most of Latin America supported the US resolution against Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council’s (HRC) 19th session in Geneva. China, Russia, and several countries in Africa and Asia voted against it. Unsurprisingly, Cuba and Ecuador also opposed the resolution.

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